The bushfires that have swept through Australia in recent weeks have been heartbreaking. We have seen people across the world reach out to Australia and show their support, and for Goway, it is heartening to be reminded at this time that the world loves Australia as much as we do.
Many of you might be receiving calls from clients concerned about pending trips to Australia. Perhaps they are already booked, or perhaps they are considering it. We want to aid you in answering the concerns of existing customers, as well as those who are considering booking Australia.
The most important thing is to access up to date information. We have been closely monitoring the situation in conjunction with our Sydney office, Tourism Australia and local operators. We have set up a blog post on Gowayagent.com for the latest information.
As we all know, Australia is a very large country, almost the size of the United States. Most of Australia is unaffected by the fires, including regions in Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory that are popular with visitors. Unaffected areas also include the major cities and the Great Barrier Reef.
The majority of the regions affected in New South Wales and Victoria were regional areas outside of major international tourist centres. Tours to the popular Blue Mountains region west of Sydney have resumed. Sadly, Kangaroo Island was affected, however touring has resumed with modified itineraries. Melbourne is experiencing the odd smog day depending on the winds, we are monitoring this as well.
We have put together 5 essential tips to assist in handling questions about the Australian bushfires:
- Call Us for Reliable Information
Talk to us. Give our destination specialists a call, and they will review the itinerary with you, answer any concerns and explain the proximity of the affected areas to your clients. Remember also that we can do conference calls, so you can invite your clients to speak with our specialist.
- Review Plans Closer to Deadlines
If clients are feeling uneasy and they are not travelling until later, eg February, March, make a decision closer to the time. Please note full cancellation terms do apply to any cancellations for product that is not affected.
- Consider Alternatives Within Australia
Itineraries can be amended if clients are uncomfortable with a particular area. For example, perhaps combine a visit to Queensland with some time in Tasmania or the Northern Territory.
- Offer to Postpone Travel
If clients don’t want to travel now, perhaps postpone to later in the year after summer when the temperatures are cooler and bushfire season has passed.
- Don’t Cancel! Tourism Makes A Difference
Many regions in Australia rely on international tourism and these regions now more than ever need visitors. According to Tourism Australia, 97% of the most popular destinations for International Travellers to the country remain unaffected. It is possible to enjoy that dream vacation to Australia while helping its local communities.
Know that we share your concerns for Australia and value your client’s safety above all else. We will keep you informed of the latest changes and updates regarding the bushfires. In the meantime, your clients can refer to our Australian Bushfire article for practical information.
Efforts are also underway to assist affected regions in Australia with post-fire recovery. In addition to the benefits continued travel will bring to the country, Goway will also be making a donation of $10 to Tourism Cares’ Destination Disaster Recovery fund on behalf of each traveller who books an Australia trip between now and March 31, 2020. We will also be donating several vacation packages to be auctioned off at a future date, with all proceeds going to support Tourism Cares in their recovery initiatives. Goway will supplement these efforts with its own internal fundraising.
Tourism Cares’ Destination Disaster Recovery fund focuses “on restoring and improving resources and infrastructure,” in destinations across the world, including physical restoration, and the restoration of traveller confidence. By encouraging travellers to proceed with their Australia plans, you’re doing your part to help keep Australian tourism strong so future globetrotters can see the wonders of this beautiful country.
Thank you again for booking your clients with us, and for helping to support Australia in its time of need.